Ralf Rangnick has attempted to explain and justify his comments regarding Naby Keïta and Guinea while Liverpool look to be readying another bid.
You just literally couldn’t make this stuff up could you? The rest of the Leipzig hierarchy must be fuming!
Ralf Rangnick has only gone and done it again today, attempting to explain and justify yesterday’s comments in which he referred to a “village in Guinea” trying to turn the player’s head and managed to offend well… practically everyone.
Leipzig’s Sporting Director seemingly flipped his lid yesterday when addressing the German media and in an incredible error of judgement appeared to use Keïta’s place of birth as a stick to beat him with.
“There should be someone who points them into the right direction,” Rangnick said of Keïta and fellow want-away Emil Forsberg.
“The boys themselves are not the problem here. It is their surroundings. A whole village in Guinea or somebody from their entourage tells the players why they must do something right away. I can’t blame the players.
“I expect them to play for us next season. Both are extraordinary players who make the difference for our team.”
The former Salzburg Sporting Director came under immediate fire from high-profile Guinean figures on social media who branded him as racist, including journalist Amadou Makadji – who has been highly vocal about Liverpool’s attempts to sign the player – and former Guinean national team captain Kamil Zayatte.
Nazi de raciste do your job and ??????? https://t.co/CzaJN6MeCB
— kamil zayatte (@zaykam) July 26, 2017
Rangnick’s comments are made all the more bizarre by the fact that Keïta hails from Guinea’s capital city Conakry which, as of August 6th last year, boasted a population of 1.76 million people.
The Sporting Director attempted to justify his comments today but it doesn’t really look as if damage limitation is his best skill with Ed Aarons of the Guardian quoting the German as saying: “Many players with an African background, and I’ve met a lot of them, there is a clan and sometimes a whole village that feeds with the help of a player.
“And that there are people who demand that he has to change, that is so. Believe me, my knowledge of geography is sufficient to distinguish Guinea from Africa.”
Rangnick’s comments are said to have been aimed primarily at Keïta’s representatives, Arena11, who it has emerged the Sporting Director still bears a grudge against for their involvement in Sadio Mané’s transfer from Red Bull Salzburg to Southampton back in 2014.
The agency is believed to have been a key influence in the Guinean’s attempts to push a move through and while his frustrations are understandable – no club wants to lose their best players – his comments are irresponsible and are hardly the way to go about trying to get the player to stay.
Speaking of attempting to convince him to stay, it looks like Rangnick and the rest of Leipzig will have even more work to do in the next week as the Reds look to make a final push for the Guinean’s signature.
David Maddock of The Mirror reports that Keïta has indeed been angered by Rangnick’s “village” comments and has “instructed his advisors to make a concerted effort to get him out of Leipzig.”
Maddock believes that the Reds could use the friction to their advantage as they look to submit a third – and likely final – bid for the Guinean’s services in the next week, believed to be in excess of £70m.
This could finally represent some positive news for Liverpool fans with Chris Williams of This Is Anfield and Futbolgradlive tweeting earlier today that BILD have confirmed there are “voices at RB which are in favour of a sale this year due to the mega-transfer offer”:
Reports from Bild this afternoon: “there are voices at RB, which are in favour of a sale this year due to the mega-transfer offer” #Keita
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) July 27, 2017
The club have already seen two offers of £57m and £66m rejected and will be hoping that the combination of Rangnick’s comments, Keïta’s reported attitude problems and the incident in Leipzig training last week could finally force Leipzig’s hand and bring this saga to a close.